Often times when someone gets a criminal charge on their record they look for ways to have the ruling overturned in court or if that is not possible, have the offense removed from their record. The process of having a criminal charge removed from your background is called an expungement. This is done through a legal process called a “Motion to Vacate Conviction”. This motion is filed in the court where you were originally convicted. You have to meet certain criteria in order to pursue this method of improving your criminal background.
The main criteria needed for you to be considered for expungement is that your case is considered “closed” by the State of Washington. This means you have satisfied all of your court-ordered requirements such as paying for all legal fees, court-ordered fines and any other terms of your sentence like serving jail time or community service hours. An additional criterion is that there needs to be a three year period after the original conviction before an expungement is pursued.
The process of having a criminal record expunged can be extremely helpful to individuals that wish to have more opportunities open up for them. By having a criminal record, finding employment and securing safe housing can be a challenge. By having those offenses removed from your background you may be able to find employment easier and sign a lease for housing with greater ease as well. However, in Washington State crimes that are considered a violent offense like a driving under the influence, sex crime, assault and others like it are not eligible for the expungement process.
As a result, having a driving under the influence conviction is detrimental because it is a permanent record on your criminal file. Having the ability to contest the conviction after a three-year term and have it removed from your criminal file is a huge advantage to those who qualify. But, for those that have a driving under the influence conviction need to be prepared for the long term ramifications of their actions. This provides the greatest reason for having an experienced DUI attorney to represent you in your driving under the influence charge. If you do not select an attorney that has experience, knows the legal system and is well versed in working with clients that have been convicted of driving under the influence then you could find yourself in trouble.
While it is our hope that people choose to use their vehicles safely and responsibly and choose to drive only when they are sober we know that is not always the case. As a result, people that face a driving under the influence charge need an experienced DUI attorney because the legal consequences are so high. It is critical that if you find yourself in a position where you need legal advice and counsel consider calling us to learn how we can help you.